Wool Rugs and Fibers in Carpet Weaving
How is Wool Harvested and Woven into Rugs and Carpets?
Wool Rugs – Wool is the most common material used in making rugs, at least in regard to the pile or the flat-woven facing of the rug. It comes primarily from sheep, although goat hair can be used as well. The quality of these fibers can and does vary enormously.
Some sheep produce wool that is soft and lustrous, with a silky sheen that is enlivened by proper illumination. Others may have wool that is more dull and un-reflective… but those that are more lustrous are generally moist or lanolin-rich. They are far healthier and more durable than those that are dry.
One of the most important choices that weavers make is the quality of the wool they use. It affects the cost and value of a rug, as well as its ability to stand up to use. Some, however, were chosenfor their fineness, softness, and textural delicacy.
They come from the neck and belly of the sheep, like Angora, or, in the case of Indian Pashmina, from the downy layer close to the skin of the animal. Wool may also be used for the foundation of the rug as well as for the pile or facing.
The rug weavers who used wool fibers to construct the carpet’s foundations were mostly tribal, nomadic or tribes people. Therefore, their rugs are more typical of the village rug weaving where the designs are more primitive and the construction would not be as fine.
Why Wool Rugs?
There are many reasons why wool rugs have stood the test of time while being stood on for decades.
If we look at the history, the concept of using a wool rug appears to have origins from the area of Northern Iran. According to scientific research, knotted pile carpets made from the shearing of sheep and goats for their wool and hair was present there around the 7th millennium.
In addition, the oldest carpet in the world was found in Syberia and dates back to approximately the 5th century B.C and is knowen as the “Pazyryk Carpet”. This ancient piece of history was woven using wool pile.
Sheep grow back their woolly coats season after season which is why wool is a resource that can easily be replenished. Some sheep are bred specifically for their wool which makes cultivating that material relatively easy and accessible.
Wool is a very versatile and soft material that can easily be dyed in so many different colors. Basically, wool is to carpet weavers as paint colors are to painters.
Another lovely feature about a wool rug is its long lasting durability. Wool is seen as (and had been proven to be) one of the most durable natural fibers. Wool rugs are also easy to clean and maintain.
A wool rug has always been kind to the environment or considered planet-friendly. The fiber is a natural and sustainable material which leaves a much smaller carbon foot print compared to a rug made from synthetic fibers.
Wool, what’s not to love – right?